tv Book Discussion Civil Rights and the Making CSPAN November 29, 2014 8:30am-8:59am EST
that didn't happen. what they did was segway their efforts and focus on woodrow wilson which for those to understand the racial history of woodrow wilson's peculiar figure to focus on in terms of wanting to get his support in a fight for civil rights. what is interesting when i dealt deeper into woodrow wilson's archives is he met with the naacp three times, putting lyndon johnson in his office, one of the times, a silent protest parade in new york city, african americans protesting mob violence in this area. the naacp is doing here and what they do get from wilson and also from harding are statements against lynching. it took a lot of letter-writing and a number of meetings but woodrow wilson makes a great
statement here. those are many lynchings and every one of them have been at the blow of ordered law and humane justice. no man who loves america or cares for fame and honor and character or who is truly loyal to her institutions can justify a mob action or the courts of justice are open and governments of states or nations ready, and individuals like do boys, in exchange with wilson and in exchange with harding. harding makes this statement to congress, with lynchings. a free and orderly representative democracy the head of the nation, and americans will follow. as you know, that happens.
at the tail end of the hiding statement, the focus or federal law, if you pass federal legislation, it could be african-americans. i documented another chapter in the book, it is up massive campaign. to pass legislation that would bring all of those who are accused and then convicted of lynching african-americans to justice. it passes the house of representatives but ultimately abandoned. the rep who proposed it said here courage people all over the united states to get busy in parades for public sentiment. it is a quote buy johnson and another by w. e. b. du bois, the dissolution that happens.
on the public opinion front, lynchings and mob violence are not stopping. the executive, you have statements from presidents, lynching and mob violence is not stopping. the piece of legislation, will not stop it. what was interesting to me in my studies in the area of racial violence, it is a last resort to the naacp, they are not the first point of entry for the naacp and how did they protect the lives of african-americans. what sparked interest in winching and fighting lynching through the law was a violent race massacre in phillips, the trouble began on september 30th, 1991, small group of
african-american farmers peacefully gathered in a church. and strategize how to break free from the sharecropping system and the way african-americans retaken advantage of in the system. aware of the gathering of african americans a small group of law-enforcement officials arrived and fired shots at the church hoping to gillen number of these labor organizers. there fire was returned by more fire and one white man was ultimately kill. what ensued in phillips county later on and those who understand very specific racial dynamics that are happening, 1919 in arkansas to the idea that african-americans have done, a very dangerous idea. there was a need at least for
many of the citizens in this area to put this down. in phillips county, the worst display of racial violence of to that point in the 20th century. over 300 african-american men, women and children were hunted and shot down over the course of three days, thousands were driven from their homes in the african-american section of town that was bloated and destroyed. what happened afterwards in 72 african american men were arrested, many were tortured and tried to procure them and given narratives of hutu accused and what they should say, the torture being put in an electric chair and being told they would put the current on if they did not say what their interrogators, what ultimately happened is 12 african-american men who then tried for the mob domination that happened in phillips county and they were
sentenced to die. the litigation strategy developed by the naacp was focus directly on getting the national government involved in state trial, and it was in the process of being swept under the rug. naacp headquarters data, walter white was an african-american but was very fair skinned and somebody that could pass. and oh yes, craziness to happen. he went to the naacp and told him he had to get involved in this. set up a fund and contacted an attorney and began the process of defending the men. from the beginning of the naacp attorneys were aware of a small likelihood that he courts in arkansas in african-american men
free. at the time the county, various hostile environments, the presidents were fuming about the so-called -- the only possible prospect for success would be to take the case outside arkansas and how could they do that when the government had been out of state from the court trial. the organization plans to file motions for new trials and courts in arkansas, at the united states. the naacp made clear state courts went off to american democracy to be dealt with by feeding power to federal court. established from the beginning the strategy provided assistance to the naacp defense counsel which served them well throughout the course of the legal battle. three times the case was lost in local courts, three times the case was also lost in state courts and was denied and then dismissed by the united states
supreme court on two different occasions. if they continue to pursuit in this case the litigation was long, complex, emotionally exhausting, relatively new civil rights organization. each stage of defeat the naacp was working with its defense counsel and strategizing about how to get the federal government involved. finally on the naacp experience the appeal to the united states supreme court was granted. the next slide. the naacp, legal arguments for federal court intervention, due process protection. violation of the due process clause, the fourteenth amendment, in the state of arkansas, and a strong case that the influence on a the mob, influence of the mob and court and jury prevented defendants from receiving a fair trial.
by virtue of mob domination, the naacp argued the courts in arkansas, i will quote from the brief, lost its jurisdiction and the result was an empty ceremony carried through in the apparent form of law and the verdict of the injury was the mob verdict dictated by the spirit of the mob, and would have been tolerated and therefore another input. in 1923 does supreme court delivered its decision which relied on the naacp's claims that the defendant's rights to due process were violated. oliver wendell holmes's majority opinion, he writes the case is the mask count for the jury and judge by areas of public passion and failed to correct the wrong. if true as alleged they make the fourth trial absolutely boil, their homes and the great mustache to the side.
this brings me to the final part of my talk with the remaining five minute that i have a. why the supreme court decision hosted so much significance for the naacp and the development of the american political and legal system as i have alleged to. this could be a war story about the story about the naacp and more verse is dempsey that not many people know about but i also think the affects of this case have long ranging implications. the answer can be found in the creation of the naacp mitigation strategy to fight for civil rights and the rest of the 20th century and more importantly the modern google procedure revolution where the supreme court expanded its power in criminal law and redefined what constituted a fair trial. it is important to understand the structure and expertise of the naacp that allowed it to
play the role that it did in the brown era of civil rights was determined by an earlier set of the events down that path. brown didn't just happen in 54, 30s and 40s. we don't just get modern criminal procedure, and in arizona and gideon. we understand court protection and a longer trajectory of how political and constitutional change happened. from an organizational standpoint it was a political and legal battle around racial violence that began to shift the understanding of the naacp and supporters how to successfully fight for racial justice in the federal government. the naacp wasted little time using more versus dempsey as leverage for funding appeals for their legal department.
1923 to 1924 the naacp grew from $120 to 1,000 in $60. it doesn't seem like much but it was a 600% increase in one year. however it wasn't just the naacp's leadership that was affected. the supporters of the naacp were acutely aware of the impact of this case and the year after more versus dempsey was decided the naacp noted in 1924 they came from all parts of the united states, appealed for legal aid and 12 months ending december 31st these reached a total of 476. the naacp reported taking action on most cases. moving away from trajectory of the federal civil rights agenda and returning to the enlarging of the national judiciary the naacp's efforts to mitigate deserve credit for building up the power of the federal
judiciary. more versus dempsey was the first case in the modern era to create new procedural rights and criminal cases through mob dominated trials. once the naacp secured the decision from the supreme court a new precedent was established and the supreme court entered a new era of jurisdiction no longer balanced by difference to state courts. subsequently the supreme court displayed willingness to intervene on behalf of helpless african-american defendants. the number of precedent-setting supreme court cases. in the final analysis the naacp's struggle against racial violence, the american state does not hold a monopoly on the use of force and institutions can be places for state actors and marginalized groups to negotiate power. simply institutional development derives from the tension between powerful actors and those who contest and critique the projects they seek to implement. the naacp made a strong case for the growth of the federal
government in its kind of innocent involvement around issues of racial violence. the effort that culminated in the landmark supreme court decision more versus dempsey exemplifies how the naacp created opportunities for civil society to challenge jim crow and how the organization push the federal government in a new direction. it set them on a new path. these were ordinary african-american citizens, sharecroppers, teachers and domestic workers and store owners unwilling to sit idly by and watch the escalation that was equipped with an unrelenting belief the united states was ahead. these contested the boundaries of what it meant to live in democracy in which government supports all of its citizens. the supreme court decision chipped away at and enshrines system of white supremacy and presumptions the 7 states ought to be the sole architect of policies involving race and
justice. [applause] >> questions, anybody? >> thank you very much. i am very interested in reading the book. the question i had with a science perspective, as well as somebody who is interested in theories of political culture the ordinariness of the citizens toward the end of the talk, there is a question there about the ideals of popular culture and african-american life in that period and how it is that people who are interested in
political action would perform actions politically in the manner in which you described them or to put it slightly differently, what made it so that the pursuit of political action counted as political for these people as opposed to it the aggrandizement of popular sentiment as a form of political action. why are those activities political and not institutional activities and people began to have opportunities of access to them, intervention in them as opposed to other kinds of activities. >> in terms of the letter-writing campaign, wilson and harding and those who got involved and more verse is dempsey. the question about political actions instead of -- >> i want a bigger description
of what political action would look like. which seems to suggest citizenship is about intervening. >> that is an excellent question. at the heart of the question is what constitutes an agency, and the political process. part of the push back here it is one about the way i am understanding and using weather that is letter-writing or involvement in legal cases as informed citizen engagement with the state. >> other african-american activities. >> such as landlocked development that they are in. >> those all constitute different forms of political engagement and activity.
in terms of part of the book project and my specific critique is centered on american, political and constitutional development. the way they understand political activity is one in which it is not political activity and less something in terms of institutions that are moved and that is why for the most part they don't include regular everyday citizens, latinos citizens, it is normally how institutions behavior and how it the political actors behaved. part of what i am doing is not -- it is not applying to me. i agree, different forms, i focus on a particular way james johnson's and the way james lyndon johnson is engaged politically is beautiful, wonderful array, high focus specifically on his letter-writing to wilson and specifically on a a a legal
case. is development literature, it is mainstream or traditional, and i would say there is no way, what does it shape? and the harlem renaissance, and what i am trying to get at. even if i take an antiquated notion, there is -- still should be the way marginalized groups african-americans are acting here. it is one slice of a larger pie. >> a clear understanding of the takeaway that you are emphasizing here, as relates to
the previous scholarship. take -- a legal period. it does talk a lot a boat away groups organize and the way they ultimately impact institutions, state and local government to deal with segregation in the south and so on. i you talking about similar types of activity in terms of agencies in this earlier period and continue the analysis backwards in time because that period has not been analyzed in this way or is it something different you are adding that goes beyond? >> yes and no. excellent question. one of my critiques in terms of whether it is a lot of the work that focuses on a later time period, so much of the civil rights literature especially around organizing and especially the naacp focuses on this later period. there is so little work focuses on what happened before. there seems to be an established
body of literature in constitutional law and political science that says does organizing matter? ultimately it didn't really change anything the way they'd do it, a pair disorganizing against national security concerns, this is what is forcing people to move. i want to focus on a much earlier period and say if all the literature in political science focuss pont post 45 and a lot of literature, a really great job in the 40s, 50s and 60s, we will extend that earlier. there is amazing organizing the naacp is doing in the teens and 20s and racial violence and the
way that political science has discounted in some way, through the cold war, that narrative doesn't exist. at least in this period. and so i want to show that we should extend it much further out there's a lot of connected i commend in the development of criminal law. you can't understand without the naacp, you can't understand miranda, you can't understand gideon. those are cases in which the supreme court is involved, this is the very first case in which the supreme court gets involved. i read public lawbooks and constitutional law books. it was a criminal pursuit.
and naacp archives, a dissertation about how the naacp forgot the issue of criminal justice and i was a graduate student and the naacp began in 1909, nor did i understand how to do research so i just started reading and i was like wait a minute. the naacp is totally involved. the way the narratives are written now the naacp, the big case of brown and housing cases and capital punishment in thes and 90s that there's not a story a criminal procedure and organizing, and the naacp is not just litigation focused on organization but they were focused on protests on the ground and through the presidency and congress and perhaps political branches worked better than the courts.
>> other questions? >> great presentation. you draw any historical connections to say at the beginning to where we are now in terms of the 21st century, that kind of ground level organizing might be something a lot of people are calling for. >> thank you. i had to put in 30, 37-1/2. in terms of temporary implications of my work, i think maybe two or three, in terms of organizing, in the back of my mind, when i was riding with occupied protesters and troy davis protesters as well as stop and frisk happening in new york.
and i address stopped and frisked in new york. the basic question about how do organizations mobilize to successfully organize against injustice and the political system. part of in terms of i would like to think part of the implications of my work is a way to rethink organizing change. we should -- if you are thinking of this idea of seeking change do you protest, go to the political system, courts bring out change, the big changes are about race, always all about the courts. at is true at some level but at the naacp, without the 40s and
50s, in 1909-1916, how do we fight, still believing in the american political system that is just. they do make some inroads. it doesn't change everything. they do make some inroads. we do -- it is the public ecosystem. it is at some level important. movements and struggles in the contemporary area and need not center on one specific institution. without the current naacp. here is the naacp in 1909, 1911, working in all these institutions, not just focusing on one but maybe this time the
presidency will create a breakthrough, maybe -- we -- there is going to be some protection. let's not just focus on protests but courts, let's just focus on legislation. the naacp has very little resources. were able to create sustained change. movements today need to focus on all the different branches. thank you. [applause] >> you are watching booktv on c-span2 with top nonfiction books and authors every weekend. booktv, television for serious readers.
>> and now booktv continues with more nonfiction authors and books. on afterwards, jonathan hyde presents the history of the birth control pill. bill nye talks about the theory of evolution and argues to teach creationism alongside evolution in science class is not only wrong but dangerous. thomas read profiles president ronald reagan, jill look for discusses the history of feminism and daniel schulman looks at the coke brothers. for more information on this weekend's four they television scheduled visit us online at booktv.org. >> here's a look at some books being published this week. norman mailer's authorized biographer and archivist michael lind and prevents the edited collection selected letters of norman mailer. and her brilliant career, rachel clarke writes about the lives of ten female pioneers of